Doug Benson is best known as a pot comic, thanks in part to his film Super High Me, and the fact that he frequently talks about smoking the marijuana in his act. The fact that he recorded his latest album, Hypocritical Oaf on April 20th, otherwise know to the more intoxicated among us as 4|20, just further serves to certify his stoner credentials. He's been all over TV, including Comedy Central Presents and Last Comic Standing, as well as hosting his own popular podcast, Doug Loves Movies. He also enjoys McDonalds. A lot.
It's actually stunning to hear him move from a solid joke about Vegas, betting and prostitution to a bit about dumb stuff you do while high, only to get sidetracked by saying the word "do" twice in a row. If this silliness is just a scripted part of his act, he's an incredibly accomplished performer, because it comes off as utterly real. It's the little throwaway notes that really help shape his set, because they sell his image as a goofy, casual dude. When he accidentally (?) refers to the area as Wisconsin, only to make, in his words, a "smooth-ass save," it seems a bit too sharp for someone with senses supposedly dulled by weed, but again, he just makes it work.
While jumping all over the place, with jokes about shorting words, getting pretzels on a place and the benefit of TV marathons to pot smokers, his relaxed enthusiasm is a bit infectious. When he starts talking about performing for an audience made up of a large group of mentally handicapped people, it got the biggest laugh out of me of the whole disc. It's not what he says really (though the line "Let me at them" is hysterical.) He just delivers his jokes so smoothly and enjoyably. He also manages to craft a few longer-form bits, including his usual McDonald's jokes (including the magic time known as the Breakfast Window), a reading of some of his popular tweets and a run on getting a medical marijuana license, but two in particular stand out.
One, tied to his weak imitations, is easily the best stand-up take on Silence of the Lambs that I've heard. Perhaps it's because I find Buffalo Bill's voice to be hysterical after years of hearing Opie and Anthony joke about it, but Benson's advice for dealing with him is really quite funny. The other runs the risk of not working, because it's something of a visual joke, but the premise is enough to carry it, as he talks about his inability to focus and the detrimental effect that had on him when he had a sign-language interpreter on stage once. Watching her use her hands, he decides there's a word he wants to see signed. It's such a natural idea and his view of it is so amusing that you can't help but laugh, no matter how ridiculous it is.
If anything here completely speaks to his role as a pot comic, it's the way he ends the disc. After opening it up for the audience to request a final joke (which results in calls for both the tried and true and the truly bizarre) he kind of just ends the show after making a half-hearted joke about Carlos Mencia and Jay Leno, just sort of wandering away. Perhaps he saw something good on a nearby TV, but it's certainly the opposite of the stand-up tradition of ending on a high note. He does come back for an amusing trio of jokes as a hidden track, but it's funny mainly for the way he does it, again showing he's a strong performer with OK material.
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